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JOIN US FOR OUR NEXT MEETING –  January 31st, 2019 – 6:30-8: 30 PM Silverton, CO (location TBD)

What is a CAG?

A Community Advisory Group (CAG) is an important tool for enhancing community involvement in the Superfund process. CAGs serve as a public forum for representatives of diverse community interests to present and discuss their concerns related to the Superfund decision-making process. A CAG also provides opportunities for EPA to present its work which CAG members can disseminate through their various contacts and constituencies.

A CAG can assist EPA in making better decisions at a Superfund site, and offers a unique opportunity for EPA to hear – and seriously consider – community preferences related to environmental investigations, remediation activities, and overall environmental and human health goals.


Background

Since the establishment of the Bonita Peak Mining District (BPMD) Superfund site there have been several conversations in the community on developing a Community Advisory Group (CAG) for the site. CAG’s are part of Superfund law (CERCLA), but CAG formation and operating procedures are left up to local communities. To be recognized as a CAG, a list of members is provided to EPA. EPA’s two criteria for approving a CAG are that members represent a diversity of interests within the community and that they live in the affected area (in this case within the Animas River watershed). While a CAG is strictly an advisory group, it serves as an official, long-term mechanism for local citizens to engage with EPA and its partnering agencies.

The CAG formation committee is made of representatives of citizen organizations that have been involved with water quality issues in the Animas Basin for many years. (Committee members are listed below in the Formation section.) Over the past year, we have engaged the community through the Citizen Superfund Workgroup —a public involvement process designed to inform citizens, promote discussion and develop locally generated, desired outcomes for the BPMD site. Formation of a CAG is a natural extension of the work done by the Citizen Superfund Workgroup.

CAG’s can fulfill different roles at Superfund sites depending on community interests. The role of a CAG may change over time contingent on activity at a site and the interests of a potentially changing membership. This CAG will be Colorado-based and will focus on Superfund activities impacting the Animas River within the state. It will not focus on the potential effects of Gold King Mine water release which occurred August of 2015, a year before the Superfund listing.

One of the main objectives of this CAG is to disseminate information about activities at the BPMD site to the community and to provide community input back to EPA. Related to that objective, this CAG will utilize local expertise in reviewing and commenting on technical documents associated with the site. Characterization and mine remediation in the upper Animas River Basin began twenty-five years before it was listed for Superfund in 2016, and the community already possesses a great deal of data, knowledge and experience regarding the site.

Formation

The CAG formation committee includes the watershed groups who initiated the Citizen Superfund Workgroup with a couple of additions. All of these formation committee members have wide-ranging experience with Animas River issues, particularly water quality, and all have extensive contacts throughout the local community with which they can share information. The members of the CAG formation committee are:

    • Peter Butler, Ph.D. – Coordinator – Animas River Stakeholders Group
    • Ty Churchwell – Animas Campaign Coordinator – Trout Unlimited
    • Shannon Manfredi, MA – Facilitator – Animas River Community Forum
    • Marcel Gaztambide – Animas Riverkeeper – San Juan Citizens Alliance
    • Anthony Edwards, J.D. – Community Liaison – San Juan County and Town of Silverton

The formation committee is soliciting applications through December 22nd from people who want to be on the CAG, including applications from the formation committee itself. These applications will be forwarded to the four local governments in the Colorado portion of the watershed – San Juan County (CO), Town of Silverton, La Plata County and the City of Durango. Each of these entities will pick one person from within their respective jurisdictions to be a CAG member. The Southern Ute Tribe has decided to monitor the activities of the CAG, but does not desire direct representation. The formation committee will select the rest of the CAG membership. We plan to limit the CAG to fifteen people as suggested by some of the local governments. There is no set limit, but more than fifteen could become unwieldy.

Recognizing that the CAG should reflect a diversity and balance of interests, the committee will strive to appoint at least one person with experience in:

    • Agriculture
    • Mining
    • Mine Remediation
    • Recreation
    • Environment
    • Science
    • Local Government
    • Local Business
    • Public Health

In addition, we want to ensure there are “at large” seats, because some good, qualified citizens may not have experience with any of these categories. The committee will also strive to obtain geographic representation from different parts of the Animas River watershed. CAG meetings will be open to the public, so meeting participation is not limited to only CAG members. Community members will always be encouraged to participate.

Generally, the term of appointments to the CAG will be three years with one-third of the appointments expiring each year. The members of the CAG as a whole will vote on appointments or re-appointments after the initial formation, with the exception of the four members appointed by the local governmental jurisdictions.

Operational bylaws such as developing a steering or executive committee, determining a quorum for meetings, taking actions (through vote or consensus), etc. will be developed by the CAG immediately upon formation. CAG meetings will be advertised and open to the public, and meeting locations will alternate between Silverton and Durango.

Two ways to be involved:

Sign Up for Emails - CAG meetings are open to the public and community members are encouraged to participate. Click the ‘sign up’ button below to be placed on the CAG’s email list. You’ll receive all meeting notices, important updates and documents, and opportunities to participate at all levels of the process.

Sign Up

Apply to be a CAG Member - Fill out the below application and submit by 12/22/2018 to be considered for a term on the CAG. Fifteen (15) members from the community - who have applied - will be selected to be official community representatives on the CAG.

Applicant Considerations - The Community Advisory Group (CAG) for the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site (BPMD) is a voluntary advisory group to EPA and their agency partners. It is anticipated that initially the group will meet frequently, at least monthly or bi-monthly. After remediation plans and goals for the site are developed over the next few years, meetings may become less frequent. CAG members are expected to be active participants, be prepared for and attend meetings, participate in discussions, ask questions and conduct themselves in a respectful manner. In developing a CAG, the formation committee is looking for two main attributes for CAG members: a diversity of interests and experience, and an ability to work well with others who may have different opinions. (Your email will be put on list for distribution of CAG materials regardless if you are appointed or not.)

Please upload a short letter (no longer than a page) describing your education, and work or volunteer experience that may be pertinent to the CAG. Please speak to your ability to work well with others with different perspectives and describe why you would like to be a member of the CAG. If you wish, you may upload a resume, but please no longer than two pages.

Application

Document Downloads

As the CAG development process concludes, and meetings are scheduled in early 2019, we’ll post all meeting agendas, summaries and related documents here. Please stay tuned for more information

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